Ah summer vacation.... Is there really any better time to be away? Wait a minute! We spend all this time working on our gardens and now we leave?! Actually yes! The summer is when everything is looking great and that is the best time to see what the Northwest has to offer, outside your garden.
We are going to take few days off and head out, so keep your eyes peeled for the Garden Time Subaru around the state. Honk and wave if you see us!
This week we featured...
Oregon Zoo Education Center
The Oregon Zoo (503-226-1561) is ever changing and always looking for ways to engage the community. One way of doing that is with their new education center. We met with Dr. Don Moore, the Executive Director of the zoo to learn more about this wonderful facility. This center is the 5th of 8 major projects that were funded by voters in a recent election. The center is exactly that, a center for learning and teaching. The building houses an enlarged insect education area, the breeding facility for Western Pond Turtles and is the center for classes and camps. The building itself is powered by solar panels and is close to a Net '0', meaning it is a zero energy building, producing as much energy as it uses. That energy efficiency and environmental awareness extends outside to the bio swales where rain water is captured and used by native plants and grasses.
This outside area is also home to the Demonstration Garden. This area focuses on how you can make a difference in your own landscape and garden. From picking the right plants for pollinators to the biology of compost, you can learn how to be a better steward to the environment. Everything in this garden is educational and with the informative signage you can't help but learn something new each time you visit.
Next time you pay a visit to the Oregon Zoo stop by this new area (near the Zoo Train Station) and take home some great information that you can use in your garden!
Rose Garden Celebration
The projects are finished! For the past few months we have been sharing the progress of the ADA improvement projects at the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park. Well, the projects are done and the garden looks great! We met with Harry Landers, the curator of the garden, to take a tour of the new improvements and see how they are fitting in. Harry pointed out that the new ramps and ADA improvements look fantastic and are being well received by the visitors to the garden. The stone work uses some of the same stones that were removed from the steps that were replaced and are made to match the original work done by the WPA during the Great Depression. Also other ramps have been added that allow more of the garden to be accessible to all visitors.
The improvements have come at the right time. For the next couple of weeks the Rose Garden will be celebrating its Centennial Birthday! The Friends of the Washington Park International Rose Test Gardens is hosting a couple of great events. The first is a private event that you can attend with a ticket. The Wine and Roses Gala is set for August 19th from 6-9pm. This is a fancy dress event featuring food, wine and great entertainment. Bring your summer hats ladies! The next week, on the 26th, is the big community celebration from 11am to 6:30pm. This event has kids activities, food and entertainment too. In fact, there is a free concert at 6:30 to cap the day's activities. What a great way to celebrate this historic event.
If you can't make it to the Rose Garden for either of these events, you can still order the 'Centennial Sunshine Rose' for your garden! Go to the Friends website for all the details on any of these events.
Staking Your Trees
The cold, wet, winds of winter are soon to be blowing. If you have landscape trees you may want to consider staking them to prevent damage to them and the rest of your landscape. William and Judy showed us how to use the 2 stake method to help a small tree stay stable. The main rules to follow include using wide, loose bands around the trunk to prevent girdling the tree. Also allow a little bit of play in the cords. A slight movement is good and will promote root growth. Judy showed us how to used old pieces of garden hose to protect the bark from damage from the ropes, and William shared how you can use Panty Hose for the same purpose. If you have a larger tree and you feel it might not have a solid root system you can contact a certified arborist for help.
We also showed you how to use a new product we discovered, the Orange Screw to hold your tree in place. This screw can also be used to secure tomato cages, garden tarps and even to hold your pet's leash in the yard.
Oregon is known for their culture on brewing, but did you know that one of the biggest brewers in the state is in Salem and they don't brew beer! We paid a visit to the Yamasa Soy Sauce factory in Salem and met with Leonard McMichael to learn more about this naturally brewed product. Yamasa has been making soy sauce since 1645. It is one of the best soy sauces in the world. In 1994 they opened the Salem plant to make and distribute their product in the US and around the world. Making soy sauce is a simple, yet complex, process. You use simple ingredients like soy, wheat and salt and then using techniques and recipes that have been handed down for centuries, you 'brew' (for 6 months) an incredible product. Yamasa gets almost all of their raw material from North America, so local farmers are involved in the process as well.
We also learned that soy sauce is not just for Asian cooking. It is considered a flavor enhancer and is used by chefs in a variety of dishes, including as a topping for ice cream. Now you know why soy sauce is one of the top condiments in the world.
If you would like to see the process of making soy sauce yourself, the Yamasa plant gives tours. Just contact the plant through the website to get all the details.
Smith Berry Barn Tart
There is nothing like baking with fresh ingredients and especially fresh fruit! To get a taste of both we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) and met up with Joelle in the kitchen. She had a fresh berry/peach tart to share with us. Judy joined her to lend a helping hand but that wasn't really necessary, this is an easy recipe. First she made a rustic dough. This was a simple dough that you chill when it is done. Then you roll it out on a flat cookie sheet. You don't need any special baking pan for this recipe. Once you roll it out into a 14-16 inch circle you place it back in the fridge and mix your fruit. For this recipe we peeled and sliced 5 medium sized peaches and added a pint of raspberries to the bowl. Then a sugar and flour mixture went in the bowl along with some lime zest and the juice from ½ a lime. That was then mixed together. We poured the fruit mixture into the center of the dough and added a couple of small cubes of butter then folded the edges up and over the fruit mixture. The edge of the tart was brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar. This went into the oven for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. The finished product was WONDERFUL!
If you would like to try this recipe you can find it on the Smith Berry Barn website. If you would like to try some of their great fresh fruits be sure to stop by. Also, you can check their website to see what they are picking fresh from the farm every day!